"Post Office Eureka; Delivering Gold" The art of letters on the Victorian goldfields 1851-1860. Extended Season at the Post Master Gallery. Admission Free
A fascinating exhibition capturing the thoughts and reflections of diggers during the Eureka era will open on 20 November 2004 at the Post Master Gallery in Melbourne. “Post Office Eureka: Delivering Gold” is a combination of extracts from letters and ‘picture-stories’ together with art and artefacts portraying the diggers’ experiences. Each letter is a ‘world-within-a-world’, which captures your imagination to depict pioneering life on the goldfields of Victoria 1851-1860. Ballarat goldminers waited for a letter from home with a passion equal only to their desire for gold, and their letters home described the daily struggle to survive, often with hope and optimism.
The legendary hero of Ballarat and the Eureka Rebellion, Peter Lalor, who went on to become a member of the Victorian Parliament, was for a brief time in 1877, the Post Master General of the Post Office of the Colony of Victoria. The link between Lalor and the post is not missed in the recognition of nineteenth century immigration, and the success or failure of colonial administration in developing a civil society that managed the needs of an emergent culture. This new ‘peopling’ not only required postal communication but political representation.
“Post Office Eureka: Delivering Gold” is proud to exhibit a previously unknown portrait of Peter Lalor held in private hands and given as a gift by Lalor to his parliamentary private secretary Mr Frederick Davis prior to Lalor’s death in 1889.
The exhibition also includes examples of colonial postage and stationary used by both the diggers in Victoria and their families overseas, and audio readings of letters written by Governor Hotham, Commissioner Rede, Peter Lalor, Lola Montez and the voices of ordinary men and women living on the goldfields searching for a better life.
Other highlights include the original William Strutt album, Victoria the Golden; Scenes, Sketches and jottings from nature, 1850-62, lent by the Parliament of Victoria; the painting, ‘Gold miners receiving a letter from home’ attributed to William Strutt 1862 painting on loan from the Art Gallery of NSW and an original Reward Notice for capture of Peter Lalor. There are also many other artefacts bringing this extraordinary time in our history back to life.
“Post Office Eureka: Delivering Gold” opens from 20 November 2004 until 29 May 2005 at the Post Master Gallery located at 321 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. Education kits will be available for schools at all levels of CSF curriculum. Guided tours of exhibition highlights and the permanent collection are available, $3 per person or $5 per person (includes refreshments), subject to minimum groups of five or more. Bookings are essential for all programs: telephone 03 9204 7727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.